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This is now my seventh annual season review covering the events I attend, and any highs or lows of the year driving my MV's. I've had a very busy 2015 season. While it looked like it was going to be quiet to start with, new events and opportunities kept popping up throughout the year, filling out the diary of events from March to October. The following posts are some of my favourite pictures from the year, 'though a much greater coverage can be found in the Events Gallery page of my vehicle websites ( My Events Gallery )



Whitley Bay Beach Assault - March 28th ( M201 Jeep )


The Whitley Bay Beach Assault is a charity 10k cross country run and assault course on Whitley Bay sea front. Some of the local MV owners had been asked to take some vehicles along on show, together with the regular Army/TA. I took "Jessie" out for a short drive the day before, to check I'd sorted a slight weep from one of the water hoses. All was well, but this was the first proper long run out since the engine rebuild. In all, six vintage MV's turned up, my M201, an M38A1, a Ford and Willys Jeep, a Land Rover and Can Am Bombardier bike.




It was blowing a gale all day, with winds of 25mph, gusting much higher, which was shaking the vehicles on the way there as well as while parked. There were plenty of lycra clad participants standing around turning blue, waiting for their turn to start the course.




Part way through the afternoon, an unusual rainbow formed over the sea, and rather than the usual bow shape, is was like a shimmering curtain of coloured light. Best guess is that it was a fuel dump by an airliner as we weren't too far from Newcastle airport. As the wind got stronger, one of the large aluminium framed marquees took off, injuring a number of people. Fortunately, I was one of the few with tools, and we were able to dismantle the remains to prevent any further trouble from it.



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Yorkshire MVT Crank Up - April 19th ( M201 Jeep )


I left home just after 8am and after a chilly drive, I arrived at Tadcaster a little over two hours later. We waited about 15 minutes for other vehicles to arrive before the convoy began its journey into the centre of York. The convoy was one of the largest I've seen at Yorkshire MVT events, and as the vehicles started parking up at the castle, it became apparent just how many vehicles were there. The usual one line of vehicles around the green became two lines, and then three until the whole of the green was full and heavy trucks on the road. Once everyone had parked up, the final count was 85 MV's.





Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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N.E. Land Sea and Air Museum Market Day - May 2nd ( Dodge WC51 )


While Lynne was off on a Girl Guide fund raiser, it was a "Daddy Day Care" day. On her way out, she dropped my daughter and myself off at the storage yard where we keep the Dodge, to bring it home for its Spring service. The North East Land Sea and Air Museum was having a farmers market day, and as it was in the rough direction of home, we called in there with the Dodge first. We had a picnic lunch, looked around the museum and stalls, did the bouncy castle and roundabout rides, ice lolly and home in time to get at least the oil changed before the rain started.





Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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Herrington Park Steam Fair - May 3/4th ( Dodge WC51 )


Well, day one was terrible. It was heavy rain all day. I'd pre-booked so turned up anyway, as I'm not a fair weather event attender, but it was dismal. In addition to the heavy rain, it was blowing a gale, making the outside temperature around 0 degrees. I sat in the Dodge with my candle/plant pot heater, trying to keep warm while reading a book about RAF Bomber Command. Penshaw Monument was fading in and out of the rain clouds. By 2pm I was frozen, and with virtually no public there, saw little point in staying any longer. I came home and fixed some minor leaks that the heavy rain uncovered. The forecast for day two was less wind and the Sun shining all day.






Day two was very different, with white fluffy clouds, blue sky, warm temperatures and less windy. I drove the Dodge again while Lynne drove 'Jessie', her first trip for a 18 months ( bar up and down the runway at Croft in 'Hope' ). Lots more vehicles turned up and hundreds of public, many having to queue around 45 minutes to get in. Other than the T.A., we were the only military vehicles there, and standing out amongst all the shiny cars and traction engines, we had quite a lot of attention from the public.





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Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 16/17th ( Dodge WC51 )


Blyth Gun Battery Museum is located right on the North East coast, and with the wind gusting 25mph+, I didn't venture out of the Dodge on day one, other than to set up upon arrival. It wasn't until the second day that I made the effort to have a look around the show. The windsock on the top of the Dodge was horizontal all weekend. I think the beach battle was earlier in the day than last year, and as a result, I'm sure a number of people missed it. I heard the 25 pounder make the first shot, and then witnessed a number of the public scurrying towards the sound!






Day two was equally windy, if not more so, but there were more public about. I managed to have a good look around early in the day, while some of the displays were still setting up, though most of the gear was out on display. If the wind had dropped at all, I think it would have got out quite warm, but as it was, by the end of the day, I felt quite battered by the wind. The drive there and back both days was un-eventful, other than almost wiping out the Tyne Tunnel toll pay basket with the rear body of the Dodge, trying to get close enough to pay from the left hand drive seat. Why they don't have any left hand drive pay booths I don't know, especially being so close to the ferry port?





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Durham Millenium Square - May 25th ( M201 Jeep )


The local MV group were requested to take a handful of vehicles to Durham's Millenium Square to support the Echo 42 Big Band who were playing there ( http://www.echo42.co.uk ). We had four Jeeps and a staff car on show. There were quite a lot of people coming and going, though it never looks like it from my photos, as I don't like people spoiling my vehicle pictures!





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Debach Airfield - May 28~31st ( Ford GPW )


After missing Battlegroup North due to illness, and another show being cancelled, we decided to use the fuel money on a trip to Debach airfield in Suffolk, the home of the 493rd Bombardment Group. The last time we were there was 2010, so we were overdue a visit! "Jessie" had been there a number of times, so this time we took "Hope", although there was also another reason for bringing "Hope" on this trip.


We made it a long weekend and drove South on Thursday, getting there late afternoon. There was a lovely sunny evening to relax in so we took the opportunity to go for a short drive around the airfield, and down to the tower for some pictures. Lynne drove the GPW down to the tower, and parked up for the pictures, but then couldn't get the Jeep to move again. The engine was revving as if just in neutral. It turned out that one of us must have knocked the four wheel drive select into neutral, while swapping around for photos.


I also gave Lyta her first go driving the GPW, or more precisely, steering it, while sitting next to me. I took it down to near the main runway, and with some prompting of left and right, she steered us the three quarters of a mile back to our tent while I crawled along in first gear. She was over the Moon, and did well for someone of just five and a half years old.






Friday was a damp day, so leaving the GPW wrapped up, we went to Sutton Hoo for the day. Saturday was a trip to the 100th BG museum ( see next post ) and Sunday was the Debach open day and convoy.


The Sunday morning of the Debach open day started quite wet, however it did start to dry up around lunch time for the planned convoy. The route took us on a combination of minor roads and farm fields with Jeeps at the front, Dodges and other medium vehicles in the centre, and the GMC's and other heavy vehicles bringing up the rear.






After the morning road run, the vehicles parked up around the tower and other museum buildings. An impressive number of vehicles belong to Richard, the museum owner. These include a GMC Compressor truck, GMC Bolster Truck, Fordson Fire Truck, Workshop truck, Hebard Aircraft Tug, Jeeps, Dodge Ambulance and just purchased but not yet arrived, an Austin K2 Ambulance.





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Thorpe Abbotts Airfield - May 30th ( Ford GPW )


The visit to the 100th Bomb Group Museum at Thorpe Abbotts was the main reason for taking "Hope" on the trip. When I was looking for a paint scheme for the GPW, I had found several pictures of the Station Photo Jeep as reference. Like I had done with "Jessie" eight years before, I wanted to take "Hope" to the same places as the wartime photos were taken and recreate the scenes. This was going to be the longest trip for "Hope", having only clocked up 100 miles during 2014 in short drives. Thorpe Abbotts was about 30 miles away, but we set off on the smaller 'B' roads to avoid the fast traffic of the A140. It was a lovely sunny day, ideal for photos.


The first scene was located by the Photo Lab building in the Technical Site. Unfortunately, this part of the site isn't used by farm vehicles and so was too overgrown to take the Jeep there. However, we set off to get as close as we could, intending to go the rest of the way on foot. To recreate the picture, I took a photo of the wood, with the overhanging oak branch, in the position which seemed to match most closely. I took another picture of myself and the Jeep on the perimeter track beside the control tower, and then blended the two images to create the final reproduction.






After leaving the technical site, we headed back across the airfield to the museum, and then on to the Half Moon pub at Rushall for some lunch, a favourite haunt of the 100th BG airmen. After lunch, we returned to the museum for a look around, and to take some additional photos in front of the Control Tower, with the Jeep and my new K-20 Aerial Camera.


We still had additional comparison photos to take, but they were on the South side of the airfield, and planned to get them on the way home. The final two recreation photos were taken on the junction between the road from the Technical site and the East/West A143 to Diss. The position of the original A143 has been moved North slightly, and now probably covers the site of the picket post, but we parked as close as possible to the location to take the comparison photos.






From there we called in to Diss for some food shopping, before making the 30 mile trip back to Debach airfield, just in time to have a look around Richard's collection of MV's at the Debach museum.

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Tanfield Railway Steam Gala - June 20/21st ( M201 Jeep & Ford GPW )


Since June was quiet for events, when I found out about classic cars attending the Tanfield Railway Gala, I was keen to go. It had been nine years since we last had a Jeep at Tanfield for their War Weekend, and this was a great chance to take both Jeeps out, and enjoy some steam engine action at the same time. It was only a 20 minute drive to East Tanfield Station where we were displaying.


There were only about a dozen cars on Saturday, many of which from the 1980's and 90's. However, on Sunday, there was a good turnout, with many more older vehicles. There were six locos running during the weekend, five steam and one diesel. Two of the steam locos were visiting Tanfield, one; "A. No.5" was from Newcastle and the other; "Mech Navvies Ltd", came all the way from Wales! This outing was also the first time out for "Hope" since the name was painted on the side.






The five steam locos were pulling vintage passenger coaches and one coal train. A few goods wagons were mixed in to some trains. At the back of the Marley Hill yard, where the shunting demonstration was going on, are the storage sidings. There are a number of unrestored locos, coaches and wagons laid up here. The weather on Saturday was cool and damp, with a number of light showers. Sunday was much better, and while there were a couple of heavy showers, the Sun did come out and it got out quite warm out of the wind. These differing conditions created a wide range of lighting conditions for photographs.




As exhibitors, we were given some free travel passes which allowed us unlimited rides on the trains. While we didn't spend all day riding the rails, we did have a number of rides, stopping at some of the stations for a look around, or to just watch the trains come and go. There were a few classic trucks in attendance which stayed for most of the day, while the cars seemed to arrive late and leave early. Only a few each day remained for the full day. The Marley Hill yard, near the main station, was used on and off throughout the weekend for shunting demonstrations. The multiple tracks allowed shunting without stopping the passenger operations.






At the end of the weekend, we packed up the Jeeps and headed home, clocking up about 100 miles between the two Jeeps.

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Avro Vulcan 'V Force' Tour ( Northern ) - N.E. Land Sea and Air Museum - June 27th ( Ford GPW )


2015 was to be the last season for the Avro Vulcan serial XH558. Since its restoration, I'd only seen it display once at RAF Leeming in 2010. The tour was planned to fly over all the remaining V Bombers around the country over two days. I wasn't sure what to do for the 'V Force' Tour weekend.


Initial thoughts were to take a Jeep to the aircraft museum and watch the Vulcan there. However, due to the number of public they expected, I wasn't going to be able to get the Jeep in. Instead I thought about just popping down in the Jeep, and parking on the grass corner of the main road junction. Later on Friday, since I was on my own for the weekend, I hatched a wild plan to see the Vulcan at Sunderland and at Duxford in Cambridge, driving South early Sunday morning. As it turned out, I was offered overnight accomodation with a friend near Duxford, so planned to head South soon after the Vulcan displayed in Sunderland.


I set off with about half an hour to spare before the display. Lots more people decided to park on the main road too, and upon arriving about 15 minutes before the Vulcan was due, there were cars everywhere. Fortunately, being in the GPW, I was able to park in the rough overgrown area where others didn't want to take cars. Even the Fire Brigade turned up in a Fire truck and parked on the grass.






It took several minutes for the volume of leaving traffic leaving the road to clear, before I could cross back over the road to the Jeep. Even then, I wasn't going to get back out of the junction, and had to take a longer back route home. Once home, I put the Jeep away and started packing, heading South around 4pm.

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Avro Vulcan 'V Force' Tour ( Southern ) - Duxford - June 28th ( No Vehicle )


While my trip to Duxford wasn't an event I took an MV to, the subjects of the visit are interesting enough to be included in my report and it followed on from the Northern Vulcan Tour. I left my friend's house about 09:50hrs on Sunday morning for the short drive to Duxford.


There was a queue already at the entrance, as people were processed through the tills, but within about 15 to 20 minutes, I was through and onto the airfield, where the first Spitfire of the day was already preparing to take off. After it climbed away, I headed back to the Victor, and into the Airspace hangar to see their Vulcan. The first pictures are of Duxford's two 'V Force' bombers, Victor XH648 and Vulcan XJ824.






Since the American Air Museum is being refurbished, most of the exhibits are spread out around the rest of the site. The B-17, B-24, C-47, P-51, SR-71, UH-1 and T-33 were all in the end of the Airspace Hangar. After a brief Spitfire display, it began to rain more heavily, so I made my way to the Fighter Collection Hangar. Here I saw their P-40C for the first time, and the two MkI Spitfires, one of which I've seen before, but not since its new coat of paint.






For the rest of the morning, I was hopping in and out of the hangars avoiding the rain, before going for lunch at noon, hoping it would clear soon as forecast. Thankfully it did, and I was treated to three other Spitfires flying, a Harvard, and I was delighted to see the B-17 and Blenheim being prepared for flight. The last time I saw the Blenheim was three years ago, and it was still in primer with many parts yet to be fitted. Later in the afternoon, the OFMC P-51 Mustang was wheeled out and prepared for flight too.






Late in the day, the Consolidated PBY5a Catalina, Boeing B-17 Fortress and Bristol Blenheim returned from airshow appearances.






The Vulcan was slightly early to Duxford and gave a shorter display than the day before up North. With the sky heavily overcast, the pictures aren't as nice, but still a good record of what I thought would be the last time I would see a Vulcan in the air.






With tired feet, and the flying action over, I left the museum at 5pm, but had a longer trip home than expected after the A1 North was closed, and I had to divert to the M1, a little north of Cambridge. Around four and a half hours later, I got home.

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Ford GPW Crankshaft Oil Seal Failure


Since the trip to Suffolk, the engine has been weeping oil from the clutch bell housing. It must have been escaping past the rear crankshaft seal, and then running into the housing. Over the last few short trips, the weeping has turned into pouring, leaving a three to four inch diameter pool of oil within a short time of parking. I tried a different grade of oil, but that made no difference. Weeping I could have lived with, but not with the current loss rate. The engine had to come out and be inspected, but I was up against a deadline as I wanted to take the Ford to the Breighton Fly-In, mid July.


On Wednesday July 1st, I began with a short run to warm the oil which was then drained. The battery was removed next, followed by draining the radiator. With that done, I started disconnecting things, starting with the headlight wiring which allowed removal of the grill. Radiator hoses off, radiator out, throttle link and carb off, fuel supply pipe off, cylinder head temp sensor out, earth strap off. The list went on until I was at a position to lift the engine, then called it a day.




The failed seal.



The engine bottom end was stripped, parts ordered, and then the whole thing re-assembled on July 5th! While it was out of the vehicle, I reset all the valves, as they were easy to get to. All was well after a test run and drive, giving me the green light again for Breighton.





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Breighton Airfield Summer Fly/Drive-In - July 18/19th ( Ford GPW )


With Little legs now at school, we had to wait until the end of the school day before we would be able to set off for Breighton, normally a three hour drive in the Dodge. We decided that a long drive in the truck after school would get us there too late for her tea and then bedtime, so opted to take a Jeep on the flatbed trailer rather than going in the truck this year.


Following the GPW's engine rebuild, it was a good opportunity to do a little test driving around the airfield, and we'd not taken this Jeep to Breighton before.


It was windy when we arrived, which made setting up the tent challenging, but as usual, there was a great sun set and a nice warm light on the Friday evening allowing some nice pictures of the Jeep around the site and next to original wartime buildings.






As well as the normal Fly-In, this year was the second Buckerfest event, for aircraft built by the Bucker aircraft company. The wind didn't ease much over the weekend, which reduced the numbers of visiting aircraft compared to past years, but there were still eleven Bucker aircraft at the event, including one Jungmann flown over from Germany. There were a good turnout of classic cars on Saturday, but ours was the only military vehicle.


The Saturday evening dance was well supported, and there was another nice sun set as a backdrop for the Auster and Broussard parked outside the hangar. Sunday was more windy and dull, and visiting aircraft numbers dropped again, as did the classic cars with only a few turning up for the second day. While the weather was disappointing, we still had an enjoyable weekend relaxing and watching the aviating.





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Croft Nostalgia Festival - August 8/9th ( Dodge WC51 & M201 Jeep )


For the show this year, I decided against taking all three vehicles. Last year, it took two days before the show and one after to get the vehicles there and home. While it was nice to have them all together, it was a great deal of work and expense.


So this year, it was just "Jessie" and "Faith", although I was taking my canvas tent and photographic display too. We left home late on Friday morning, and due to roadworks and lots of red lights, it took 90 minutes rather than the usual hour. It took a further three hours to get both tents up, the truck and trailer unloaded, and then sort out the display and tables ready for the following day. The only other job that night was a bit of marshalling when the Pitts Special flew in, and then we went to the marquee for the evening entertainment.






Here's a couple of pictures around my 2015 display. The photographic display included the new K20 camera and stereoscope along with the various target photos. We also got to try out the Dodge observers seat properly for the first time.






One of the visiting aircraft was a Bucker Bestmann, best known for its role with Donald Pleasance and James Garner in the film "The Great Escape". I was fortunate to get the opportunity of trying out the hot seat, and apart from head room being a bit limited, it was more spacious than other wartime side by side seating aircraft I've been in. On Sunday morning, we had the military parade lap, or laps actually, as there was time for three trips around the circuit. Lynne did the driving while I was shooting images for the Croft website.






After the parade laps, there was a break in duties until it was time to escort the Sherman and FV432 out onto the show field. To protect the track, rubber matting was laid out for the Sherman and FV432 to drive across, after which they were free to put their foot down and belt around the field in front of the grandstand! The video below, shows the Sherman being unloaded, and then the Sherman and FV432 driving around the show field. A late addition to the attractions at Croft was the mighty Avro Vulcan B2. I thought Duxford was going to be my last view of the aircraft, but Croft gave me one more chance. While advertised as a flypast, we had a mini display lasting about 6 minutes.








For once the weather had been kind the whole weekend, and towards the end of our packing up around 9pm, we were given a lovely sunset to finish off a fantastic weekend. We got home in darkness, and finished unloading by about 11:30pm, very tired.



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N.E. Land Sea and Air Museum Victory Event - August 15/16th ( Dodge WC51 )


It was a quiet weekend at the museum, with not many public about; but as they'd had a big public event the week before when we were at Croft, I didn't expect a large turnout. It was a chance to relax and have a chat with friends. I'd not been since May, so this was my first chance to see the Vulcan with the fin painted and the new Saunders-Roe Skeeter helicopter in the military vehicle shed. More public were around for the second day and a couple of different vehicles showed up. The Vulcan cockpit was once again open to the public, and the farewell tour of XH558 has probably generated more interest amongst the public. The museum was packed during the June Vulcan tour flypast.





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Durham Light Infantry Museum - August 30th ( M201 Jeep & Ford GPW )


Since we'd only been back from a week in Suffolk for one day, we didn't bother going for the Dodge. Instead, we took both Jeeps to the N.E. MV Club event at the DLI Museum. While a little chilly on the drive there, it soon brightened up to give us a warm sunny day, protected from any wind by the hollow of the grounds of the museum.


Post war vehicle numbers appeared to be up this year, while World War 2 vehicle numbers were down, with very few of the heavy vehicles seen in past years, and even the numbers of Jeeps were down. We had a little light rain on the way home, but it had stayed dry for the first day of the show, with plenty of public wandering around. We didn't go the second day due to rain. With the Council announcement of the closure of the DLI in April 2016, this may well have been the last show there.





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Churh Fenton / Leeds East Airshow - September 26th ( M201 Jeep )


This was the first air show at the former RAF Church Fenton, now re-named Leeds East Airport. The Yorkshire MVT were to display a number of vehicles as part of the ground attractions. I tagged along too, and possibly travelled the furthest, with a three hour, 100 mile drive each way. I got there about 10am, and it was still quite dull and overcast, but there were however over 70 military vehicles on display.


As the morning moved on towards lunch, the sky got brighter and it got warmer when flying started. The show had a very retro feel with so many classic jets, and the most modern aircraft were probably the Raven display team. The jet displays included the Gnat Team, Meteor and Sea Venom, Provost, MiG15 and also the Avro Vulcan, definitely the last time I would see it fly.






C-47 Skytrain and vintage jets, the Meteor and Venom.






The MiG15 is in the markings of the aircraft flown by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, followed by a Hurricane and Spitfire. My viewing spot on the intersection of the runways gave me the best spot to see the aircraft taxi out and take off, and also the flying display which was at 90 degrees to the main runway. This also put the sun behind me for pictures, giving great lighting on the aircraft as the show progressed.






My last viewing of the Avro Vulcan B2 display, with my last image something of a metaphore, with the Vulcan flying off into the sun set.










It was a long, tiring drive home, and I didn't make it home until well after dark.

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Fishburn Airfield Fly/Drive-In - October 3rd ( Dodge WC51 & M201 Jeep )


The Fishburn Fly/Drive-In promised to be a great day out, but sadly after a week of pretty good weather, thick fog for most of the day kept away all but three visiting aircraft on the day. There was a great turnout of wheels, from military vehicles, to classic cars, bikes and a bus.


Most of the public seemed to enjoy what was on display, and later in the day, the fog lifted enough for the Harvard to do some joy riding. It was a cold and very damp day, but with great support from the vehicles and public, so hopefully the event will be repeated and will be more lucky with the weather in future.













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Shildon Railway Museum Classic Car Show - October 4th ( Dodge WC51 )


While I've had a Jeep at Shildon before, I think this was my first visit to the classic car show. The weather made a huge improvement over the previous day, and we had sun on and off throughout the day. It must have been really frustrating for the people at Fishburn having suffered the fog the day before.


Like several of the other car shows I've been to, there were only a small number of older classics. The vast majority of vehicles were from the 1970's and 80's, but there were a few nice unusual exhibits. There were also a few that had been at Fishburn the day before. The Railway museum had also had a bit of a shuffle since my last visit, and "Green Arrow" was a new exhibit.









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Blackfell Primery School - October 12th ( M201 Jeep & Ford GPW )


The Year 6 class at Blackfell Primary school have been learning about World War 2. While my daughter is only in year 1, the Head Mistress found out about my collection ( I may not have been the most subtle in this area ), and asked if I would bring something along to the school for the Year 6 class.


So on the day of the display, the school run was made with both Jeeps, Lynne driving 'Jessie' while I took 'Hope'. Lynne then went off to work while I was left to bring them both home on my own after the talk. Since we live only 4 minutes walk from the school, driving home and walking back wasn't a problem. While the weather forecast had initially been ok, Monday morning turned out showery.


I had planned to display some gear outside with the Jeeps, but as the soaking wet tables show in the pictures, this was less than practical. Instead, I started off taking the gear into the class room to talk about it, while the class also told me what they had already learned. It did stop raining after a little while, at which time we all went outside for pictures with the Jeeps.




Following a chat and look at the Jeeps, I then took 'Hope' onto the school field for a blast around. After a few circuits around the field, I pulled over, and gave their teacher a ride before then giving him the chance to have a drive himself. Hopefully this can be a regular event, and possibly go for something bigger and warmer in the Summer term. I took a few pictures of the two Jeeps before the kids came out, and the school supplied me with some where faces couldn't be seen, to use on my Jeep website.




'Hope' was covered in wet grass clippings when I got home, so before the Jeeps were put to bed, out came the hose to wash off the gardening I'd done. The total round trip for each Jeep was one mile!





So that was my show season. A busy year with eighteen events attended, over twenty four days, driving 1192 miles between the three vehicles. Apart from the failed crank oil seal on the GPW and a failed brake light switch on the M201, it's been a trouble free season. 'Jessie' clocked up the most miles, with 668mls on the engine since the top end rebuild last winter, and the Ford engine is behaving itself after the replacement oil seal was fitted. Who knows what 2016 will bring?

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